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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Under New Hampshire RSA 179:10, it is unlawful for a minor (under 21) to consume or possess alcohol.  This is a violation level offense with a minimum fine of $300 for first time offenders.  Subsequent offenses raise the minimum fine to $600.

Additionally, any minor convicted under this statute faces license revocation pursuant to RSA 263:56-b.  At the discretion of the court, a minor may lose her license for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 1 year.

If you have been arrested for under age possession or intoxication, it is critical to speak with an experienced criminal attorney in order to safeguard your rights. 

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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

New Hampshire RSA 637:4 Theft by Unauthorized Taking is defined as, "A person commits theft if he obtains or exercises unauthorized control over the property of another with a purpose to deprive him thereof."

The penalties for theft are found in NH RSA 637:11

637:11 Penalties. – 
    I. Theft constitutes a class A felony if: 
       (a) The value of the property or services exceeds $1,500, or 
       (b) The property stolen is a firearm, or 
       (c) The actor is armed with a deadly weapon at the time of the theft, except that if the deadly weapon is a firearm, he shall be sentenced in accordance with RSA 651:2, II-g. 
    II. Theft constitutes a class B felony if: 
       (a) The value of the property or services is more than $1,000 but not more than $1,500, or 
       (b) The actor has been twice before convicted of theft of property or services, as a felony or class A misdemeanor, or 
       (c) The theft constitutes a violation of RSA 637:5, II(a) or (b), or 
       (d) The property or services stolen are from 3 separate business establishments within a 72-hour period, or 
       (e) The property is stolen with intent to resell or distribute. It would be prima facie evidence that the offense constitutes theft with intent to resell or distribute when the theft consists of goods or merchandise in quantities that would not normally be purchased for personal use or consumption, or 
       (f) The property received in violation of RSA 637:7 consists of goods or merchandise in quantities that would not normally be purchased for personal use or consumption, or 
       (g) The actor has twice before been convicted of offenses under RSA 637:3-a, II and the present and prior convictions were based on offenses committed within a 36-month period. 
    III. Theft constitutes a misdemeanor if the value of the property or services does not exceed $1,000.

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Yes, in the State of New Hampshire you are legally allowed to use non-deadly force when you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent or terminate criminal trespass.  The statute codifying this is NH RSA 627:7 - Use of Force in Defense of Premises.

"A person in possession or control of premises or a person who is licensed or privileged to be thereon is justified in using non-deadly force upon another when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent or terminate the commission of a criminal trespass by such other in or upon such premises, but he may use deadly force under such circumstances only in defense of a person as prescribed in RSA 627:4 or when he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt by the trespasser to commit arson."

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The statute is relatively narrow.  Shooting at someone on your lawn, is not advisable. 

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The statute reads:

I.  Any person held in official custody who commits an assault under RSA 631 is guilty of an offense under this section

II.  Aninmate is guilty of aggravated assault on a corrections staff member when, with intent to harass, threaten, or alarm a person whom the inmate knows or reasoanbly should know to be an employee of such facility, or an employee of any law enforcement agency, the inmate causes or attempts to cause such employee to come in contact with blood, seminal fluid, urine, or feces by throwing or expelling such fluid or material.

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The statute then goes on to define terms in the body of the paragraphs I and II.  Make no mistake, Assault by Prisoners is a serious offense and when a police officer and other employee is involved this is a felony charge. 

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The Union Leader published an interesting article on the use of deadly force when defending yourself at your home.

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20121209/NEWS03/121209176

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If you have received a Habitual Offender letter in the mail from the New Hampshire DMV, I highly suggest you contact a lawyer.  The New Hampshire DMV will certify a driver as a Habitual Offender when that driver accrues the following violations/crimes in a 5 year span:

3 majors

12 minors

Or a combination of majors and minors such as:

2 majors and 4 minors

Major violations are DWI, Reckless Driving, Driving after Suspension etc.

Minor violations are speeding, improper lane change etc. 

You have a right to a hearing before an examiner at the New Hampshire Department of Safety.  I can't stress enough that you should NOT ignore the letter.  If you do not appear before the hearings examiner, you could use your license for 4 years.  If you drive after being classified as a Habitual Offender, you are facing a felony and not less than 1 year in prison.  Call us to discuss your options. 

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Yes, driving a motor vehicle when your license is suspended can be a crime.  RSA 263:64 states, "No person shall drive a motor vehicle in this state while the person's driver's license or privilege to drive is suspended or revoked by action of the director or the justice of any court in this state, or competent authority in the out-of-state jurisdiction where the license was issued. 

New Hampshire has enacted harsh penalties for those that drive while their license has been suspended.

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/XXI/263/263-64.htm

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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Violating your bail conditions in the State of New Hampshire is a crime.  Typical bail conditions include not committing any further crimes.  An example of this would be that you were arrested for DUI in February 2012 and your trial is scheduled for August 2012.  If you then get into a fight in July 2012, and arrested.  That alone is a violation of your bail condition.

If you find yourself in a similar situation as described above, give us a call and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney. 

Tagged in: bail condition
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These are both legal burdens of proof.  In a criminal case, the state must prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  In a civil case, the claimant must prove their allegation by the preponderance of the evidence.  You can think of this as a balance of probabilities.  If the claimant proves there case such that it is more likely than not (>50%), they win. 

If you are a defendant in say Nashua District court for a misdemeanor offense, the state has the burden to prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.  This is a good thing because it is the highest legal standard in our legal system. 

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Yes, you can.  There are reciprocity agreements in regards to registration among the states.  An expired registration on an out of state license plate is sufficient to be pulled over and ticketed.  Similarly, you can be cited for an expired out of state driver's license. 

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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

Prima Facie is a latin phrase that means "on the first appearance." Or more generally, something is presumed to be true unless rebutted by opposing evidence.  In the legal context, you typically have 1. a prima facie case; or 2. prima facie evidence.  A prima facie case is one in which the claimant presents sufficient evidence to support a legal claim.  Prima facie evidence is evidence that, unless rebutted, would prove a fact.

So how does this apply to criminal defense?  The answer to that lies in jury instructions.  At trial, the judge will always give instructions of the proceeding to the jury.  In the context of a per se DUI charge in New Hampshire, the judge may say that a breath test of .08 or higher is prima facie evidence of impairment.  This instruction is not a rebuttable presumption as that would imply burden shifting and is unconstitutional in the criminal setting.  However, this instruction represents a presumption of a fact necessary for the state to prove at trial.  You must rebutt that presumption to be successful. 

The above is just a quick outline of the phrase "prima facie" as it applies to criminal proceedings in New Hampshire.  If you've been charged with a crime, it is best to consult a local criminal defense attorney.  

Tagged in: prima facie
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Criminal Mischief is defined under RSA 634:2.

"A person is guilty of criminal mischief who, having no right to do so nor any reasonable basis for belief of having such a right, purposely or recklessly damages property of another."

The statute takes into consideration the pecuniary loss when determining the degree of the charge.  Criminal mischief is typically charged as a misdemeanor but can be charged as a felony if the loss exceeds $1000.  Below is a newspaper article detailing a felonious criminal mischief charge.  In the story below,the Nashua man caused damages in the amount of $1500 so the state brought the charge as a felony.  

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/984336-469/nashua-man-charged-with-felony-for-spinning.html

Tagged in: criminal mischief
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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

The Nashua Telegraph routinely posts mug shots in their crime section of the online newspaper.

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/csp/cms/sites/Telegraph/crime/crimemugarchive/index.csp

If you've been arrested by Nashua PD, Hudson PD or any surrounding areas, contact us to discuss your case. 

Tagged in: nashua
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Posted by on in Criminal Defense
Ward Bird was convicted of felonious criminal threatening in 2009.  He appealed his conviction to the New Hampshire Supreme court in 2010 but lost his appeal.  The facts of the case are very straight forward.  A woman mistakenly drove onto Mr. Bird's property because she was lost.  Mr. Bird asked her to leave and brandished a firearm.  Ultimately, Governor Lynch commuted his sentence.  The New Hampshire Legislature added the below language into the criminal threatening statue in response to Bird's conviction. 
 
 "A person who responds to a threat which would be considered by a reasonable person as likely to cause serious bodily injury or death to the person or another by displaying a firearm or other means of self-defense with the intent to warn away the person making the threat shall not have committed a criminal act under this section."
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In New Hampshire, you are entitled to a judge trial for all Misdeamnors and Violations.  This occurs at the district court level.  A jury trial is only permitted at the superior court level on appeal from the district court or for a felony.  

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Posted by on in Criminal Defense

When a motion to quash is filed the moving party is asking the court to set aside a previous legal action.  This typically occurs when the moving party is arguing that a summons or complaint is defective due to, for example, lack of personal jurisdiction or improper service.

An example of this would be if a New Hampshire court lacks jurisdiction on a particular matter.

Tagged in: quash
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Yes, the New Hampshire statute makes it clear that the defendant is not entitled to have his criminal record annuled, but the court may grant it if the annulment is consistent with public welfare.  A recent New Hampshire Supreme Court case is linked below.

http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2012/2012105baker.pdf

In Baker, the petitioner appealed the district court's denial of his annulment petition. The New Hampshire Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded it back to the district court.  It remains to be seen what the outcome will be. 

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The whole idea of being read your "rights" specifically your Miranda rights comes from the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona.  In that case, the defendant was interrogated for 2 hours before he confessed.  During trial, his lawyer sought to exclude the confession because the defendant did not know that he was entitled to counsel or had the right to remain silent.  The Supreme Court held that a person in custody and prior to interrogation must be clearly informed of his right to remain silent and his right to counsel enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Now that we have the background to your Miranda rights, no the police do not have to read you your rights when you are taken into custody.  The police only have to mirandaize you prior to an interrogation.  So for example if you are taken into custody, not read your rights and just start making statements to the officer, that is not a violation of your rights. 

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation of your Miranda rights and if you feel that your rights have been violated it is best to consult a local New Hampshire criminal defense attorney. 

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The New Hampshire Supreme Court, located in Concord, New Hampshire, recently heard the appeal of a convicted killer.  Chrisopher Gribble killed a woman in Mont Vernon home in 2009.  He was convicted of the crime but now appeals arguing that the case should have been held outside of Hillsborough County because resident knew too much of the crime.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/NH-Supreme-Court-hears-convicted-killer-s-appeal-4019406.php

In my opinion, this will be an uphill battle and his appeal will be denied.  In a small state like New Hampshire, it is doubtful that residents of any county had not previously heard of the gruesome crime. 

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The answer in New Hampshire is yes.  The case on point is State v. Sousa (2004).

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nh-supreme-court/1305920.html

In Sousa, an anonymous caller told a police dispatcher about erratic driving and mentioned specific driving violations.  The trooper that pulled over the vehicle did not observe any erratic driving; however, the court upheld the stop because of the specifics provided by the caller met the reasonable suspicion threshold required to initiate the stop.

In contrast the New Hampshire Supreme Court found against anonymous tips in State v. Blake (2001).  The main differences between the two cases was the observations provided by the callers.  The Blake caller simply heard tire screeching.  The caller did not detail traffice violations commited by the driver of the car. 

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